Thank you, Generation X.
Let’s be honest: Generation X is squeezed in between two large, noisy, and rather needy generations – and we spend a lot of time talking about these millennial and baby boomer visitors to cultural organizations. But what about Generation X?
That’s what this week’s Know Your Own Bone Fast Facts Video is all about!
Generation X visitation behaviors often get the short end of the stick when it comes to getting attention in staff meetings and board rooms within cultural organizations. It doesn’t help that Generation X is a comparatively small generation that is just over half the size of Generation Y – the largest living generation that now makes up the majority of the US labor force. When we discuss millennials and baby boomers, we are simply talking about much larger generational cohorts than Generation X. It is not a good excuse to overlook this generation by any means, but it’s a reality. It’s an especially bad excuse when we take a moment to pause and consider the great qualities that this generation brings to the table in terms of visitation.
It’s time that we give this generation some of the love that it deserves! Generation X has three, particularly helpful characteristics for cultural organizations – and they deserve a big THANK YOU for bringing them to the table.
1) Generation X visits cultural organizations
Aside from the comparatively small size of this generation, another reason why organizations tend not to discuss Generation X nearly as much is precisely why we should be thanking them: Generation Y is a comparatively drama-free generation when it comes to visiting cultural organizations. We millennials are not attending organizations at representative rates even though we make up a majority of visitation and baby boomers are also a rather large and difficult bunch when it comes to cultural engagement. Generation X, though, is visiting cultural organizations without a fuss!
The chart below considers the percentage of the US adult population (informed by the US census) made up by millennials, Generation X, baby boomers, and Traditionalists in green. Alongside that bar, it shows the percentages of these generations visiting cultural organizations in orange, informed by the National Awareness, Attitudes, and Usage Study. Generation X visits cultural organizations at the most over-representative rates among the three generations. It should be noted that Traditionalists also visit cultural organizations at noteworthy rates. Among the largest three generations, however, Generation X shows that drama-free is the way to be.
While this generation’s awesomeness in the “representative visitation” department may be a reason why tend not to fret about them, it’s also a darn good reason to give them a shout-out. Thank you, members of Generation X, for visiting cultural organizations – fuss-free.
2) Generation X is decisive when it comes to online advertising from cultural organizations
The comparative decisiveness of Generation X means that this generation gives organizations the most bang for their online advertising buck. This saves cultural organizations money, and we like that. We like that very much.
The chart below comes from IMPACTS. It indicates the average number of ads delivered to online users from the retargeting campaigns of six cultural organizations before the user clicked on the advertisement. Generally speaking, the more frequently an organization has to deliver an ad, the more expensive things get. If you work in online advertising then you know that these numbers add up!
Compared to millennials, targeted members of Generation X require nearly 42% fewer impressions in order to click on an ad. Our nonprofit budgets thank you, Generation X, for not dilly-dallying around.
3) Generation X is most likely to purchase or renew a membership to a cultural organization
Could Generation X visitors to cultural organizations get any better? You bet. Members of Generation X are more likely to purchase or renew memberships to cultural organizations than other generations. In fact, members of Generation X are 11% more likely to purchase or renew a membership than are millennials, and they are 26% more likely to purchase or renew a membership than baby boomers. Those are noteworthy numbers!
As a heads-up to regular readers, it is worth noting that “intent to purchase” is a different metric than “strongly considering membership.” When it comes to unrealized potential to secure a greater number of memberships, millennials take the lead (perhaps making us appreciate Generation X all the more in this respect)! Data suggest that interest remains unrealized to its optimal potential because the types of membership programs that millennials want from cultural organizations largely don’t exist/are not particularly mainstream in the industry yet. That said, with index values over 100, millennials are currently noteworthy members to cultural organizations as well. This Generation X number is critical because the number IS so high, comparatively. The takeaway isn’t that membership structures don’t need to evolve like everything else, but rather that Generation X is a terrific audience that is undervalued, perhaps, in their intent to purchase or renew the types of memberships that organizations generally offer.
Millennials and baby boomers are demanding a lot of industry discussion right now and perhaps that’s why we’re not discussing Generation X as much: They are stable and reliable audiences. It’s time that we take a moment and thank Generation X for being awesome.
Thank you, Generation X, for being awesome.